If I was allowed to choose only one novel this year that was not only sheer delight to read, but also had the most profound impact on my spiritual life, it would be without a shadow of a doubt Roland West, Loner by Theresa Linden I wish I could give this book to every Catholic teen I know and their parents too At first glance, the story is on a purely natural level a teenage boy, alone and friendless in a new school, trying to cope with his cruel older brothers But the plot swiftly moves into a new and unexpected realm that of the supernatural sweeping the reader way beyond the halls of River Run High and plunging straight into the doctrine of the Communion of Saints The way Linden accomplishes this will take your breath away.When we first meet Roland, our 14 year old hero, he is on the verge of a trip to Italy with his father This is Roland s chance to escape his brother Jarrett and the nightmare of school But Jarrett wants the trip for himself, and will stop at nothing to get it While their father is away, he locks Roland in the cellar and puts his scheme into action.But, unknown to Roland, he does in fact have a friend someone special in Heaven, who likewise has a scheme and is putting it into action Roland s life, and the life of all the characters, is about to be changed forever.When Roland is rescued from his prison by a boy from school named Peter, a friendship springs up between them The two are drawn together especially by a mysterious locked box that Peter has been given as an inheritance What it contains is literally out of this world a gift directly from Heaven But someone else wants the treasure too The race is on to keep the box and its precious contents safe Peter s secret inheritance is the very heart of this suspenseful and heartwarming story Once you ve read this magnificent novel, you will never again think of the Saints as being far away I cannot recommend this novel highly enough A rare work by an extremely talented author, that will stay with you long after the last page has been closed. Despised By His Older Twin Brothers, New To River Run High, Friendless, And The Subject Of Cruel Rumors Roland West Has A Plan He Wants To Get His Tutor Back And Avoid High School By Proving Himself On His Father S Upcoming Assignment In Italy Before The Trip And While His Father Is Away, He Must Avoid Falling Victim To His Brothers Schemes To Get Free From His Brothers First Trap, He Ends Up Accepting The Help Of Peter Brandt, A Kid From School Who Lives Nearby Not Sure If He Can Trust Peter, He Finds Himself Drawn To Peter S Inheritance, An Old, Mysterious, Locked Box The Secret Of The Inheritance May Have The Power To Change The Life Of This Loner Roland West, Loner by Theresa Linden is a Catholic YA novel centered around the relationships between brothers and friends This book is especially great for Middle School and High School boys Don t get me wrong Roland West, Loner is an entirely engaging and well written book that anyone would enjoy but I don t come across very many YA novels completely from a boy s perspective, which makes this unique and special Linden knows boys well and writes from this perspective perfectly.I absolutely loved the development of the friendship between Roland and his neighbor Peter I also enjoyed the character of Caitlyn and the sweet relationships she had with both boys Even though it s titled Roland West, Peter had his own very interesting storyline and issues to overcome The author fused the two boys storylines together brilliantly through an adventure they embark on together.There is a deeply religious part of the story, about saints and relics that was brought up in a very intriguing way This is a subject I ve never seen addressed before in YA fiction and I think the readers will find it as interesting as I did Linden does a wonderful job of drawing the reader into Roland s life At times I wanted to scream in frustration with how he was treated by his manipulative brothers The best news is there s a sequel Life changing Love so the reader won t have to wait long to find out what happens next for Roland. Roland West, Loner is a stellar teen novel Entering the local public high school forces shy Roland to confront his fears and explore friendship and trust all while dealing with his mean and manipulative older brothers bent on ruining his life.Dependent on the help of his new friend Peter, Roland s vulnerability inclines him to share little bits of himself he ordinarily holds close to the vest.Friendship with Peter also introduces him to sweet Caitlyn with her fiery hair and emerald eyes, gossipy Dominic, and even the guests at Peter s family s Bed Breakfast.They ll be drawn into a mystery starting with a locked box and culminating in a life changing experience for each of them, one that will bring Roland back to the faith of his childhood.Theresa Linden s superb writing will draw you in and her real to life characters will keep you reading to discover what Roland s friend Peter has inherited, who s after it, and whom Roland can trust.With mystery, suspense, a hint of budding romance and an encounter with the Divine, Roland s story has something for everyone I received a complimentary copy for my honest review The author is a fellow member of the Catholic Writers Guild. Sometimes miracles happen instantaneously Sometimes they take longer Roland West, Loner is a great novel for pre teen and teen boys and girls because it demonstrates the power of prayer and of forgiveness to heal rifts in families and between friends I learned right along with the story s characters about a particular Catholic saint, Conrad of Parzham, but I won t disclose how he figures into the plot I ll simply say that this book contains a wonderful mix of real life heartache, pulse pounding suspense, and the awesomeness of the spiritual and supernatural I received a copy of this book from the author and am happy to provide this honest review. I read this book at the request of my daughter she was right a very good book, just enough mystery and not too preachy Looking forward to reading the book in the series. I really enjoyed this book It introduced me to Saint Conrad of Parzham, and I love it when books introduce me to saints I didn t know before Roland West Loner is about two fourteen year old boys, Roland and Peter Roland is trying to escape his maniac brother who will do pretty much anything to go on a trip to Italy that their father planned for Roland Peter has just received an inheritance from his grandfather, and Roland feels very drawn to it Peter is not very nice to his little brother Toby who has autism, or to his friend Caitlyn, while Roland is a very private person who has trouble trusting others I really enjoyed watching the character growth of these two, as well as the character growth that Caitlyn had Roland West Loner didn t feel like it needs a sequel, but there were some unanswered questions that I will talk about under spoiler warnings I thought that the writing got a little bit sloppy at the end view spoiler I thought that the showdown, if you can call it that, with Mr Reinhart could have been done better I mean, Jarrett stops him from getting away and then tries to take the box from him and the other characters laugh It didn t make sense that they laughed, even though it probably looked funny, Mr Reinhart and Jarrett getting into a cat fight and slapping each other s hands, but Mr Reinhart was trying to steal the Saint Conrad relics and I didn t think that laughing at that part was very appropriate I was also rather disappointed by how quickly Dominic and Foster made up Foster had been bullying Dominic for the past year or and then Dominic was miraculously healed from his paralysis and the next time Foster sees him they make up really quickly I thought that there really would have to be emotional healing for both of them It makes it look like Foster had stopped being friends with Dominic because Dominic couldn t walk, when Peter said it was because after he was paralyzed, Dominic spent a year pushing the away the people who cared about him, and Foster was hurt because of that, and then Foster hurt Dominic by horrendous bullying I really thought that there would need to be healing and forgiving each other hide spoiler In the last month I have read 6 novels and published short stories by Theresa Linden, but this book was the one that started it I have been greatly impressed by her writing In a different review I compared Linden s writings to Madeleine L Engle and Lois Lowry and the of her writings I read the I stand by that statement If we were to do a side by side comparison between L Engle s main series and Linden s then the Chasing Liberty Series would be the Kairos series and the West Brothers would be the Chronos series And this book is a magnificent read The West brothers are not exactly what you would call normal First they live in a castle Second they have travelled the world on digs before their mother passed away They have had tutors, and keep horses And until this year few people in town knew anything about them and their family Roland hates public school and the only thing keeping him going is plans of going on a trip with his father Bat his desires and plans are about to have a huge wrench thrown into them and the person throwing that wrench is the older of his older twin brothers Jarret But sometimes great things come from adversity This time the adversity brings change And though change is not always wanted, it is truly what Roland and to be honest both of his brothers, Jarret and Keefe For out of this Roland will have his first real friends, Peter Brandt and Caitlyn Summer But for someone who has never really had friends, making friends and learning to trust might prove to be a very hard thing to do But when you combine all of that with a mysterious ancient box, a notebook in a different language and some relics and things are about to get real interesting This book was an incredible read Before I had even finished it I had picked up a few of Linden s other books to have in my pile of books to be read The of Linden s writings that I read the I want to read This is an excellent book by an amazing author so check it out Read the review on my blog Book Reviews and More and reviews of other books by Theresa Linden Note This book is part of a series of reviews 2017 Catholic Reading Plan Roland West, Loner is the first book in Theresa Linden s West Brother s Series I have to confess that I ve already read Battle for His Soul and Roland West, Outcast, but doing so didn t ruin this first story Linden does an amazing job presenting her characters and developing a solid story that keeps you guessing I m that annoying reader who tries to figure out the ending in the first paragraph, and I usually get it right But not with Linden s story Her twists and turns had me anxious to find out how it would all end, and with colorful characters and a finger biting mystery to boot A story about bullying, friendship, trust, gossip, and so many other themes, this story shows how to be strong in the faith while stuck in the world. I m not ashamed to admit that I stayed up way too late one night reading this yes, it s for teens, but grownups will enjoy it too.The Catholic connections in the novel are deeply woven into the plot, but never forced There s a powerful scene involving the sacrament of Reconcilation as well as a fascinating subplot involving St Conrad of Parzham Readers will learn about, and relate to, this German Franciscan saint who was himself the victim of bullies for most of his life.Roland West, Loner is a suspenseful read that s appropriate for middle and high school students.
Raised in a military family, Theresa Linden developed strong patriotism and a sense of adventure She began writing in grade school and her passion for writing has never waned Love for faith, family, and freedom inspired her to write the Chasing Liberty trilogy, a dystopian story about a future she hopes never becomes a reality She is also the author of award winning Roland West, Loner and Battl
- 318 pages
- Roland West, Loner
- Theresa Linden
- 08 June 2017 Theresa Linden